Round 22: Tigers find a fitting way to end the season

At the start of the season this game was going to mean a lot. It was going to be Richmond’s victory leading into its first finals campaign since 2001; it was hopefully also going to be the homecoming and celebration of Ben Cousins returning to Subiaco to face his old club.

Twenty-one rounds later and only one of those expectations will be lived up to.

It certainly has been a disappointing year. My standouts would be the matches against Carlton in Round 1, Melbourne in Round 4 and Western Bulldogs in Round 11. These matches showed just how far off my predictions  for the Tigers were.

Players who have let me down in particular include Troy Simmonds, Nathan Brown and Andrew Raines. All were supposed to be key parts of our year, but at least two of them have spent the majority of the year with Coburg.

While they have dropped off, others haven’t come on. Shulz couldn’t hold down a spot in a team deprived of key forwards, Mark Coughlan never got back to his old form. The usual suspects, Oakley-Nicholls, Adam Pattison, Matt White, Jake King and Jordan McMahon, got their regular six games for the year while contributing nothing in their few appearances.

So because of these usual Tiger flaws I will not be seeing them in September. Instead I’m seeing them off from my lounge room with the parents out.

I don’t give us any chance tonight. Without Newman, Foley, Collins, Richardson and Cotchin, we couldn’t win a game in the VFL.

As I’ve said numerous times this year, ‘Thank God for Cuz’. He’s been one of the few positives in the season and has added some intrigue to this match. As Mum and I have experienced throughout the year, Cuz likes to do things differently. Richmond make their way onto the ground minus one. The entire team waits for Ben as he is given a great reception from his old supporters.

He keeps the spotlight on himself during the game as well. While racking up the most possessions for Richmond, Cuz gets in a blue with the Selwood brothers. The cheers that he was given before have now turned into boos.

Besides Ben, Hurn creates the only highlight of the first term. A miraculous goal sixty out on the boundary line puts the Eagles up by three goals at the first break.

My least favorite rule comes into play as Polo tries to be too smart. After being awarded a free kick, Polo runs over the goal-line under pressure. The umpire said he had prior opportunity thus a free kick paid to West Coast. As LeCras boots his second goal I fume over the rule. If players still didn’t understand the rule like they clearly don’t, why bring it in after one trial in the NAB Cup?

The Tigers show something for the future. A chain of handballs goes from Post to Rance to Edwards, who spears a pass onto Deledio’s chest. The 2008 (and 2009) Jack Dyer medallist swings onto his right foot from sixty out, sailing through the goals. We’ve got some talent.

Polak gives Richmond a shot at making a game. A snap that bounces over the heads and around West Coast players somehow goes through the goals. About time he had some luck.

LeCras kills the Tigers’ momentum. The deserving 2009 All-Australian boots his third and this leads to goals from Staker, Kennedy and Embley. At half-time the Tigers are down and out.

The third quarter almost makes me feel happy that football season is nearly over. West Coast run wild with Tom Swift showing plenty, as well as Naitanui. West Coast did well out of last year’s draft.

I’m starting to get annoyed with the West Coast fans. Never have I seen supporters so excited to be on TV. I’ve had enough of their ‘W’ symbol that everybody seems to use.

As the fourth starts, I look for the retirees to show something. The Eagle fans have given Fletcher a huge roar all night but unfortunately he hasn’t done much. Coughlan and Brown haven’t seen much of the ball either.

For the first time since the second quarter Richmond kicks a goal. It fittingly comes from another ex-eagle, Mitch Morton. One of my Tiger favorites wraps up his first Michael Roach medal. The last person to do that who wasn’t Richo was Matthew Rogers in 2000. Funnily enough, Richo was injured that year as well.

The siren sounds and Richmond’s season is over. Coughlan, Brown and Rawlings walk off from their final game. By the way, Hardwick was talking up on Wednesday that there might be a few more to drop out yet.

An 80 point loss to end the season finishing 15th is rather fitting, I think. Ah well, let’s look towards finals. Time to start watching some good teams play football.

West Coast 4.8 9.14 15.18 17.23 (125)
Richmond 1,3 5.5 5.6 6.9 (45)

West Coast LeCras 5, Staker 3, McKinley 2, Swift, Spangher, Embley, Hurn, Lynch, Ebert, Kennedy,
Richmond Morton, Tuck, McMahon, Polak, Deledio, Edwards

West Coast LeCras, Hurn, Swift, Spangher, A Selwood, Embley
Richmond Tuck Cousins Edwards Deledio Jackson


The following players will not return to Richmond for the 2010 season:


  1. Callum O'Connor says

    Callum here, returning the favour. Loved it Matthew. I can distinctly remember flickign the telly over to Nanny McPhee in the third quarter. Those poncy English kids showed a bit more heart.

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